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Council and Biffa combating national issues affecting waste services

Date Published: 29 July 2021
Waste and recycling

Rutland County Council is working with waste contractors Biffa to manage the impact of national issues that are affecting local waste collection services in Rutland.

Rutland has experienced a series of delays and general disruption to grey, green and black bin collections in recent weeks. This is the result of several interrelated issues that are linked to the COVID-19 pandemic and are affecting waste services in local authority areas across the country.

Nationally, the UK is currently experiencing a shortage of around 70,000 drivers who are sufficiently qualified to operate large goods vehicles (LGVs), which include the vehicles used to carry out kerbside waste and recycling collections. This is leading to serious problems recruiting collection crews and drivers – an issue that is felt even more keenly in rural areas like Rutland. There is also a current national shortage of vehicle fitters able to carry out essential maintenance and repairs, prolonging the time it takes to get vehicles back out on the road when mechanical problems occur.

Alongside these recruitment issues, there has been a significant increase in the amount of waste being produced by households across the county during the COVID-19 pandemic, due to the large number of people staying at home. This means that collection vehicles fill up quicker and need to make more trips to waste transfer stations to unload. This adds to the time it takes for crews to complete their rounds, as well as increasing wear and tear on collection vehicles as a result of the extra mileage.

“We understand how frustrating the recent disruption to waste collections has been, and we want to assure residents that we’re doing all we can to address these issues. Unfortunately, because many of the problems are connected and the result of national issues associated with the impact of COVID, there is no quick fix. Lots of Councils are experiencing the same problems and we are working with Biffa to minimise the impact on our local services. However, we can’t rule out the possibility of further disruption while long-term solutions are put in place and apologise to residents for any inconvenience this may cause. We’d also like to thank residents for their patience and understanding as we work with Biffa to put sustainable solutions in place.”Penny Sharp, Strategic Director for Places at Rutland County Council

A number of measures are already being implemented to reduce the disruption to local waste and recycling services. Biffa has embarked on a comprehensive vehicle refurbishment and replacement programme and is establishing its own training centre to combat the national shortage of suitably qualified LGV drivers. Crews have also extended collection hours and are now working into the evenings to keep collections on schedule. Biffa is also actively recruiting more staff, including supervisors, drivers and loaders. Anyone who is interested in finding out more about these roles should visit: www.biffa.co.uk/careers.

More information about the measures being put in place to reduce disruption to waste collection services in Rutland can be found online at: www.rutland.gov.uk/waste.

Residents are asked to check the Council’s website or social media channels (Twitter and Facebook) for updates about any further disruption to waste services, as information will be shared here first, to keep residents informed.

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